Things are apparently getting worse for former General and CIA director David Petraeus. Remember that sex scandal that derailed his career a couple years back? Well, as it turns out, there's a lot more at stake for him now than people knowing the details of his private life — Petraeus could face felony charges for distributing classified documents. Department of Justice prosecutors and the FBI have reportedly recommended that the charges be filed, after allegedly finding classified materials on the computer of Paula Broadwell, Petraeus' biographer with whom he had an affair from 2011 to 2012.
If this happens, it'll be yet another black mark on his once-sparkling career. It's easy to forget, but just a few years ago, Petraeus was getting a fair bit of ink as a possible presidential candidate for the Republican Party. His widely perceived triumph in stabilizing conditions in post-war Iraq — a distant memory these days, to be sure — had vaulted him into rarified air in political circles, the sort of figure that would-be power players would constantly cite, defer to, and praise.
It's a legacy which somewhat endured despite the sex scandal that spurred his resignation as CIA chief, and frankly, that makes sense. The American public doesn't necessarily demand straight-and-narrow monogamy from their leaders, as former President Bill Clinton laid bare. But the allegation that Petraeus exposed classified materials to his lover is another matter altogether. He denies the claims.
Some people aren't so hot on the investigative process, however. Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham among them. McCain and Graham, in addition to be one of the most reliable senatorial duos in the GOP — they even write boilerplate op-eds together — have long been some of Petraeus' loudest and most ardent supporters, and they're now condemning the investigation as "grievously mishandled." In particular, they're upset that news of charges being recommended were leaked to The New York Times.
It is outrageous that the highly confidential and law enforcement-sensitive recommendation of prosecutors to bring charges against General Petraeus was leaked to the New York Times. It is a shameful continuation of a pattern in which leaks by unnamed sources have marred this investigation in contravention to fundamental fairness. No American deserves such callous treatment, let alone one of America's finest military leaders whose selfless service and sacrifice have inspired young Americans in uniform and likely saved many of their lives.
Make no mistake, if charges are actually brought against Petraeus, you'll hear these two bellowing in opposition once again. It'll now be left up to Attorney General Eric Holder to decide Petraeus' fate — despite having announced his intention to resign last year, Holder is still serving until a replacement AG is confirmed by the Senate. President Obama has already nominated Loretta Lynch for the job, but with a Republican-controlled Congress now ruling the day, there's no telling how much longer Holder will be on the hook.
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